He stood up, noticing dimly that his legs seemed to be made of marshmallow. He waited. And then he heard the whistle blow. He walked out through the entrance of the tent, the panic rising into a crescendo inside him. And now he was walking past the trees, through a gap in the enclosure fence.
He saw everything in front of him as though it was a very highly coloured dream. There were hundreds and hundreds of faces staring down at him from stands which had been magicked there since he’d last stood on this spot. And there was the Horntail, at the other end of the enclosure, crouched low over her clutch of eggs, her wings half furled, her evil, yellow eyes upon him, a monstrous, scaly black lizard, thrashing her spiked tail, leaving yard-long gouge marks in the hard ground. The crowd was making a great deal of noise, but wether friendly or not, Harry didn’t know or care. It was time to do what he had to do … To focus his mind, entirely and absolutely, upon the thing that was his only chance …
(Source: J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, paper back edition, Bloomsbury 2000, ISBN 0-7475-5442-0.)
When I read this part of the fourth Harry Potter book, I actually felt my own heart pounding wildly in my chest. The nervousness and fear Harry feels when waiting for his inevitable encounter with a dragon is described so vividly, that it is impossible not to feel it yourself as well. That’s why for me this book instantly became the best Harry Potter book I’ve read (which would change after I’ve read even more of them, but that’s something for another review).
What I like about this book, apart from the vividly described feelings, is that Harry Potter isn’t breaking school rules in order to be thrown into adventure for a change. This time, it’s not Harry getting himself into trouble. In fact, if he were given a choice, he would have backed out when he had the chance, I’m sure. The fact that he couldn’t have stopped any of the events from happening by making different choices, makes the book even more exciting than the ones before, in my opinion.
I also love the fact that the beginning of the book is so different from the others. For the first time, the first chapter of the book isn’t about Harry Potter staying at the Dursley’s. In fact, it’s not about Harry Potter at all. It’s about his worst enemy, which immediately gives you the chills and also leaves you with high expectations for the rest of the book.
Expectations which are being fulfilled by the way. Death Eaters make their first appearance, dragons are being fought, and for the first time, (little spoiler alert) an innocent person dies unexpectedly. I was shocked when that happened. This is a turning point in the series. From now on the books will be more gloomy, more scary and have a more serious tone than before. But at the same time, J.K. Rowling doesn’t forget to also let her readers enjoy the beautiful, mesmerizing magical world she created. For me, this combination of mystic beauty and fearful events is what makes these books so addictive.
I got absorbed in every page of the book. Sometimes the words made my heart pound and sometimes they made me cry. What every word had in common though, was that they made me want to read on. Putting the book away wasn’t an option. It’s addictive in a very good way. The book is almost 800 pages long, yet it took me only five days to finish. J.K. Rowling enchanted me again with another magical book.